US

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Convicted of All Charges in Boston Marathon Bombing, Faces the Death Penalty

This file photo released Friday, April 19, 2013 by the FBI shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tsarnaev is legally allowed to skip pretrial hearings, and he has done that for every hearing since his arraignment in July 2013. Tsarnaev also did not appear in court on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/FBI, File)

Nearly two years to the day after twin explosions ripped across the marathon finish line, the city of Boston has justice.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted of all 30 charges involved in carrying out the bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon.

He is now eligible for the death penalty.

In this courtroom sketch, Assistant U.S. Attorney Aloke Chakravarty, left, is depicted addressing the jury as defendant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sits between his defense attorneys during closing arguments in Tsarnaev's federal death penalty trial Monday, April 6, 2015, in Boston. (AP Photo/Jane Flavell Collins)

Over 15 days, jurors heard wrenching and graphic testimony about how Tsarnaev and his brother Tamerlan placed two shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs on the ground and sent pieces of metal screaming through the air and into the bodies of Krystle Campbell, Lu Lingzi and 8-year-old Martin Richard. More than 260 others were wounded or maimed.

Among the convictions were conspiracy and use of a weapon of mass destruction and conspiracy to cause the deaths of Campbell, Lu, Richard and MIT police officer Sean Collier, who was gunned down days later during a massive manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers.

The 21-year-old Tsarnaev showed no reaction during the reading of the charges, 17 of which are punishable by death. Jurors will decide in the next phase of the trial whether Tsarnaev should get the death penalty or spend the rest of his life in prison.

From left, Krystle Campbell, 29, Lu Lingzi, a Boston University graduate student from China, and Martin Richard, 8, all of whom were killed in the bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/File)

Tsarnaev's own attorney acknowledged at the very start of the trial that her client committed the crime, but contended that he was under the influence of his older brother, who died during the manhunt.

"If not for Tamerlan, it would not have happened," defense attorney Judy Clarke told the jury during closing arguments.

Prosecutors, however, portrayed the brothers — ethnic Chechens who moved to the U.S. from Russia more than a decade ago — as full partners in a plan to punish the U.S. for its wars in Muslim countries. Jihadist writings, lectures and videos were found on both their computers, though the defense argued that Tamerlan downloaded the material and sent it to his brother.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Patrol Officer Sean Collier, 26, of Somerville, Mass., was shot to death, April 18, 2013, on the school campus in Cambridge, Mass. (Middlesex District Attorney's Office/AP). Massachusetts Institute of Technology Patrol Officer Sean Collier, 26, of Somerville, Mass., was shot to death, April 18, 2013, on the school campus in Cambridge, Mass. (Middlesex District Attorney's Office/AP).

The government called 92 witnesses, painting a hellish scene of torn-off limbs, blood-spattered pavement, ghastly screams and the smell of sulfur and burned hair. Survivors gave heartbreaking testimony about losing legs in the blasts or watching people die. Martin Richard's father described making the agonizing decision to leave his mortally wounded son so he could get help for their 6-year-old daughter, whose leg had been blown off.

Some of the most damning evidence included video showing Tsarnaev planting a backpack containing one of the bombs near where the 8-year-old was standing, and incriminating statements scrawled inside the dry-docked boat where a wounded and bleeding Tsarnaev was captured days after the tragedy.

"Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop," he wrote.

Tsarnaev's lawyers barely cross-examined the government's witnesses and called just four people to the stand over less than two days, all in an effort to portray the older brother as the guiding force in the plot.

Witnesses testified about phone records that showed Dzhokhar was at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth while his brother was buying bomb components, including pressure cookers and BBs. A forensics expert said Tamerlan's computer showed search terms such as "detonator," "transmitter and receiver," while Dzhokhar was largely spending time on Facebook and other social media sites.

Also, an FBI investigator said Tamerlan's fingerprints - but not Dzhokhar's - were found on pieces of the two bombs.

Police officers with their guns drawn hear the second explosion down the street. The first explosion knocked down 78-year-old US marathon runner Bill Iffrig at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Clarke is one of the nation's foremost death-penalty specialists and has kept other high-profile defendants off death row. She saved the lives of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Susan Smith, the South Carolina woman who drowned her two children in a lake in 1994.

Tsarnaev's lawyers tried repeatedly to get the trial moved out of Boston because of the heavy publicity and the widespread trauma. But opposition to capital punishment is strong in Massachusetts, which abolished its state death penalty in 1984, and some polls have suggested a majority of Bostonians do not want to see Tsarnaev sentenced to die.

During the penalty phase, Tsarnaev's lawyers will present so-called mitigating evidence they hope will save his life. That could include evidence about his family, his relationship with his brother, and his childhood in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and later in the volatile Dagestan region of Russia.

Prosecutors will present so-called aggravating factors in support of the death penalty, including the killing of a child and the targeting of the marathon because of the potential for maximum bloodshed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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